It is very important that parents take care of their children’s teeth from a young age. Babies and toddlers are not able to brush their own teeth, but this doesn’t mean you can’t start them off on the right path as soon as they are able to hold a toothbrush. So what else can you do to ensure your child’s teeth stay as healthy as possible?

A Healthy Diet

Diet has a big effect on teeth. Children who consume a lot of sugary foods: sweets, biscuits, fruit juice, smoothies, etc. are far more likely to end up with tooth decay. Excessive sugar in a child’s diet is very bad for them. Unfortunately, many foods contain hidden sugars, so cutting out the obvious culprits such as candy and cakes won’t always help.
For example, fruit is healthy, but fruit contains high levels of fructose, which is sugar by a different name. So keep a close eye on what your child eats and if they have a sweet tooth, monitor their sugar intake.

Avoid Fizzy Soda

Fizzy soda is really bad for kids. Coca cola, Fanta, Pepsi and the like all contain lots of sugar. If children drink soda regularly, they are far more likely to end up with cavities from a young age.

Fruit juice and squash is also bad for kids because both contain lots of sugar. Beware of giving smaller children bottles containing juice or squash, as sucking on a bottle bathes the teeth in sugary liquid. Instead, restrict such drinks to mealtimes and give your kids water or milk to drink the rest of the time.

Regular Dental Check-ups

Regular dental check-ups will pick up problems before they become major issues. You can start off by taking your toddler with you when you go for a dental check-up. Letting them sit in the chair while the dentist checks their teeth. This helps to normalize the experience, and if they are rewarded with a sticker, they might even enjoy it!

Fluoride and Healthy Teeth

Fluoride protects the teeth by preventing plaque from damaging tooth enamel. Fluoride added toothpaste won’t prevent cavities if your child drinks sugar laden soda and enjoys eating sweets every day, but it can reverse the early stages of tooth decay.

Many parents ask: is there fluoride in bottled water? Unfortunately the answer is no, so if your kids like to drink bottled water, it is important that they use toothpaste with extra fluoride or drink tap water instead – check www.ilikemyteeth.org/bottled-water-childrens-teeth for more information.

One point worth making: younger children shouldn’t use adult toothpaste, as it contains too high a level of fluoride. Instead, buy them children’s toothpaste.

Supervised Brushing

The best way to ensure your child is looking after their teeth is to supervise their teeth brushing. Do this until they are at least seven years old, or they could develop bad habits.

Hopefully your kids won’t end up with a mouthful of cavities at a young age, but if they do complain of toothache, take them to the dentist for treatment as soon as possible.

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  • As discussed here, many factors contribute to oral health, including genetics, overall diet and hygiene habits. These issues are not uniquely caused by any one food, beverage or ingredient. The good news is the number of cavities among children has declined significantly in America for the past several decades due to a number of factors, including fluoridated water and toothpaste, greater access to professional dental care, the use of dental sealants and better oral hygiene, to name a few. We should all do our part to enhance oral health by brushing and flossing our teeth and making regular visits to the dentist.

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